was shaped to match
a human-spine, near-exact, though blunted
after each attack, each polite request
denied, after which the spreading grin,
the full pull-back-and-fly.
Hedley’s brother’s legs were black
the whole of spring, his mother’s eyes
sloped from her face like dinner plates
on a tilting ship. MacArthur blessed
the head of each child he passed,
with a lazy nip, with a gruesome, dark
abominable ease, with a putrid charm.
That Sunday, Mac bought port-and-lemons,
took Hedley’s mother’s arm.
He pressed the dimple on her chin,
and, like the angel in the womb, became
the whole cause of her discontent,
and of its forgetting.
Phoebe Walker is a Northumbrian poet now living and working in London. She has twice been a Foyle Young Poet, has attended the Tower Poetry School, been shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and is a recipient of a Northern Writers’ Award for her poetry. She works as Poetry Editor at Cadaverine magazine and Reviews Editor at Lunar Poetry.